From the land of Tehzeeb to the land of rashness, from the city of lip smacking chaat and succulent kebabs to the city of Dal Makhni, from the place where life still flows at ease to a place where there seems to be an illogical rush to leave the other person behind, Marriage changed my address from Lucknow to Delhi. The ‘no culture’ city was giving me huge cultural shock but dreamy eyed and without apparent realisation, dilli had embraced me and continue to do so..
What worked to fall in love with this city can’t be described in one blog I guess! Probably it was the hot bread pakora with paneer filling which the modest shop at the corner used to sell, or the late night drives to India Gate to lick that softy and then lazing on the lawns or the drool worthy crumbling apple pie of the legendary Wenger’s!
However, the love story had (and still has) many deterrents too. What is also peculiar to Dilli is the neighbourhood Aunty who has advice for everything and anything, sudden outburst of expletives when there is even a minor clash of vehicles on the jostling roads, and the baap of all, the very funny yet extremely serious parking battles!
The capital city may not be world class yet. Shockingly its a place of alarming contrasts. A plush and tony neighbourhood is offset by an over crowded and illegally built facades. The swanky Metro running full throttle still has people hitching a ride in rickety and packed to the brim autos for their last mile connectivity. Punjabi dominant colonies suddenly waking upto burst of crackers on Chath Pooja and the now ubiqitous litti Chokha and Momo carts standing and holding their own in midst of several other carts of Rajma Chawal or Chole Kulche or Chicken Biryani or simply that Shikanji. The Punjabiyat of this city is slowly being engulfed by an eastern influence!
But but dilli works! Those beautiful Mughal monuments, which have been restored now to their full glory, add to the beauty of city capital. Chandni chowk with sumptuousness in abundance and at every nook and corner makes the city capital world famous and above all, the very zealous dilliwallas, in their spirit of competition, are always striving to outdo themselves!
The city has grown upon me or may be I have grown to some extent in this city. Inspite of some notoreity gained in the last few years due to its unsafe and crime prone stature, I continue to love this enigmatic place as it offers me avenues and something new to explore each time I am out to experience it. As I write this, the love of my life, a pucca dilliwalla himself, is just asking for a meal of Rajma Chawal for lunch but then gently backs off seeing me pursuing my writing. As I said, one blog is not enough to justify dilli. I am getting up now to prepare Rajma Rice which has become my favourite too!!